Consultation on the implementation of Directive 2013/30/EU on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC, and on the review of offshore Approved Codes of Practice and the updating of UK onshore oil and gas safety legislation to cover emerging energy technologies CD272

About this consultation

The consultation seeks your views on the UK’s proposed approach to implement the offshore safety Directive, and includes proposals on amendments to existing legislation, new requirements, new administrative procedures, and the establishment of an offshore competent authority. It also seeks views on HSE’s proposals to update onshore oil and gas health and safety legislation to take account of emerging energy technologies and the review of two Approved Codes of Practice: Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response on Offshore Installations (PFEER); and Health Care and First Aid on Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works.

Background

Following the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the European Commission (EC) expressed its initial views on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations in its communication “Facing the challenge of the safety of offshore oil and gas activities”. The EC communication concluded that the existing divergent and fragmented regulatory framework applying to the safety of offshore oil and gas operations in Europe, along with current industry safety practices did not provide adequate assurance that risks from offshore accidents were minimised across the European Union. Therefore the EC developed the Directive on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations, that has to be implemented by 19th July 2015.

Proposed changes

The key objectives of the Directive and proposed changes to current offshore safety and environmental regulation are:

  • maintaining the definition of major accident that industry is used to, and to keep diving operations of fewer than five people in scope.
  • keeping supplementary units (e.g. additional power supplies to an offshore installation), if they are greater than 500m from an installation, within the scope of HSE’s definition of offshore installation.
  • keeping non-production installations within scope for enter and leave notification requirements to maintain health and safety standards.
  • maintaining an approval procedure for operator appointments rather than weakening it by replacing it with a non-objection procedure.
  • the creation of an independent offshore competent authority, independent from those with interests in the economic development of offshore resources. The new competent authority will have safety and environmental regulatory functions.
  • the operator under offshore safety legislation will be the single entity appointed by the licensee and approved (or not objected to) by the licensing authority;
  • the integration of relevant environmental and safety requirements within the safety case and associated notifications.
  • the well notification will now include environmental information and describe the findings and comments of the well examiner with a description of the action of the operator in response to these.
  • the operator will now consult the well examiner before submitting a material change to a well notification.
  • the existing independent verification scheme for safety critical elements will be extended to include environmentally critical elements as defined by the Directive.
  • operators and owners will have to produce a corporate major accident prevention policy.
  • operators and owners will need to update their safety management systems (SMS) and environmental management systems (EMS) to comply with the Directive, and if these systems are not integrated they must demonstrate how they will work together.
  • there will be a new duty on operators and owners to take suitable measures when there is an immediate danger to human health or significant risk of a major accident, and then to notify the CA after taking such measures.
  • companies registered in the UK will have to report, on request, international major accidents.
  • the owners of a non-production installation will be required to have an Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (OPEP) for each installation. Operators will be required to submit an addendum to that plan for each proposed well operation.
  • the operators of a production installation and owners of a non-production installation will be required to have an EMS which meets the requirements of the Directive.
  • transitional arrangements for existing installations and wells.

The full consultation can be viewed at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd272.htm

Consultation questions

There are a large number of questions so please provide comments and any supporting information you have. If you have a response to a particular section or question please identify which section or question your response refers to. 

We welcome comments on any aspect of the issues raised in this document. Please consider the consultation questions below and send any comments you may have to consultation@iosh.co.uk by 5th September 2014.